Imagine a sport played by millions of amateurs, thousands of college students and dozens of professionals. Universities recruit players and offer scholarships. The sport’s most recent world championship brings in a $4.6 million prize pool.
It’s not football or basketball — but a PC game called League of Legends. And it’s coming to the University of Oregon.
Despite Pac-12’s failed efforts to start its own eSports network, a student group at UO has joined 10 other universities to form a new conference of competitive multiplayer gaming independent from the Pac-12.
The students envision scholarships, tournaments and crowds of online viewers like the 4,300 spectators who watched the University of Utah match against the University of Colorado, Boulder on Feb. 16.
Leading eSports schools, like Boise State and Utah, started building their eSports programs within the past two years and participating competitively last year.
Announced on Jan. 31, the Pacific Alliance of Collegiate Gamers (PACG) will run tournaments dedicated to the PC games League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone and Rocket League.
“PACG aims to create a student-driven, competitive eSports league to further legitimize collegiate eSports and elevate the schools involved,” according to the conference’s webpage.
Tim Peckham, the League club president at UO, is rebuilding the club and has high hopes for its future.
“The future of gaming at the University of Oregon would be having scholarships, organized and sponsored eSports at the collegiate level and our own building, resources and administration that we can go to to further our growth,” Peckham said.
Source: European Gaming Industry News